Q. How do you identify people on the bipolar spectrum?

Answered by
Dr. Ashok Kumar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 02, 2017 and last reviewed on: Aug 09, 2021

Hi doctor,

How to diagnose and treat bipolar II? How is it different from bipolar I? How do you identify people on the bipolar spectrum? What are the biggest misconceptions about Bipolar II? Is it the same thing as bipolar depression? Kindly explain me.



Welcome to

Alike any psychiatric disorders, diagnosis of bipolar disorder is completely based on the history. This is elaborated from the patient, family members, colleagues and significant others.

There are set of symptoms and the history need to suggest the presence of a certain number of symptoms for some duration (two weeks for depression and one week for mania and hypomania) conclude bipolar disorder.

The examination part is called mental state examination. Alike blood investigations in other branches of medicine mental status examination is integral part of diagnosis formation and generally used to confirm the symptoms elicited by detailed history.

The above description is correct for both bipolar I and bipolar II disorder.

There are certain symptoms which are present in bipolar I but not in bipolar II. To clarify, bipolar I is characterised by depression and mania while bipolar II is marked by depression and hypomania. Hypomania is a less severe form of mania where the severity is much less than the mania.

The identification of individuals on the bipolar spectrum is made by the persistent presence of mood symptoms. The mood can be depressed, euphoric, elated or mixture of them.

People think that bipolar II is less severe, but if you consider the morbidity, it causes more loss of DALY (disability-adjusted life year) across the world. Also, contrary to popular belief, it is hard to treat.

It is not equal to bipolar depression. Bipolar depression is a part of bipolar I and bipolar II although it will be right to say that bipolar depression often misdiagnosed as unipolar depression.

For further information consult a psychiatrist online -->

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